LeSalon and Storefront: A New Service for the Industry The Insync Insurance Podcast

Introduce Yourself

Jean-Michel: Yeah, of course. So my name is Jean-Michel. I am the founder of Le Salon. So I started Le Salon first, about kind of six, seven years ago. And we launched our front on the back of that pretty recently. I’m originally from France, as you can probably guess from my name and my accent, but I’ve been in the UK for about eight years now. I actually studied here; I really loved it but then I still had to go because I got a job offer in Germany. So I started my career in Germany, but then came back here when it came to building LeSalon. So yeah, so that’s me. What else can I tell you? I have a wonderful partner and an eight-month-old baby as well.

Dawn: It must be quite a bit of a juggle, trying to deal with family life, but also running and starting up this whole new section of your business as.

Jean-Michel: Yeah, so it definitely is a bit more busy than it used to be. But I think I’ve been really lucky because my partner has been on maternity leave for, so she took a year off of work, so she’s able to actually take care of for little one while I work. So that’s actually quite convenient and I must be, be honest with you, I think a little one is, is very nice. So she’s not crying a lot. She’s not very needy, which I don’t think is like normal. So I feel very kind, grateful and lucky to be in that position.

What is LeSalon?

Jean-Michel: Yeah, so when I started the Le Salon six years ago, I used to work in consulting, so I was a management consultant. And so, you know, when you imagine consulting, you work really long hours, you travel a lot, so you don’t have a lot of free time. What we had in our office is we had like numbers of people that we would exchange. So like, oh, do you want this driver? Do you want this cleaner? Do you want this massage therapist, hairdresser? Because essentially we, we couldn’t actually go anywhere. So we had those people that would come to us and, and do it.

So then I realized that actually there wasn’t any kind of really good service that did all of that in an app. There was a time where Uber delivery were starting to like pop up. So that’s how I came to the idea. And then I start kind of developing it, testing it, and that’s how Le Salon was born as a service. We started with Delivering manicures. So we, we saw with nails, so manicures and pedicures in your house. We then expanded, added services, waxing, lashes, spray, tan massages, hair, makeup, like everything. And so now we do every service. We really kind of built that up and focused on the experience at home.

Jean-Michel: So changing you from having to go to salon to have like a really nice professional, vetted therapist. And I think the approach that we took was a very standardized one. So we went for a fixed price on the platform, a certain amount of quality. So every therapist is vetted, tested, they even trained to like our own service protocols. So there’s a way that we deliver services, so that meant that we were able to deliver really high quality services and are still able to deliver those very high quality.

Dawn: Wow. That sounds amazing. And it’s quite good and convenient as well for customers. I know, especially if you’re working from home a bit more. It might just be easier just to book in, um, getting your nails done and your lunch break and they can come to you. That sounds epic. Or even like do a pedicure where you are on a call. You like, for example, we’re calling this podcast, you can have someone do your feet, and it could be multitasked; nobody would know.

What is Storefront, your new business venture?

Jean-Michel: Yeah, so Storefront, is a product that was born during Covid. Because what we realized is we were able to empower a lot of therapists to work on their own terms. And I think what our therapists liked a lot is the ability to work whenever they wanted. And we realized that there’s actually a lot more people who wanna do that.

Not only therapists who can join Le Salon, but also a lot of other therapists. And through Covid, there were actually a lot more people who became interested and wanted to follow the career path. Um, so what we decided to do is we decided to actually use some of the technology we built for Salon, built a new one and create this software that, um, allows any therapist to access, um, A website, a booking software and allowing them to have.

Jean-Michel: Just one place where they can run their whole business. Because I think one of the main challenges that we’ve seen from therapists in the market is that, you know, it is actually quite difficult to get set up. You start, you have a lot of investments in terms of the things that need to buy the training. You need to get, you think about, you know, getting customers, but then the whole like kind of online side, which. How do I get a website? How do I take bookings? How do I take payment? How do I manage all of this admin that is getting in? Um, there are like usually multiple tools that you need to use to be able to do all of that.

So what we’ve done is we’ve put everything into one tool that is perfectly tailored to freelance, um, hair, beauty, and wellness. The. That sounds amazing. And also, you know, not everybody is, um, technologically compatible with, uh, websites and working for everything out. I mean, there might be some people that might meld with it quite well, but obviously some stuff, I mean, personally I get mystified by things still a little bit.

Dawn: Yeah. So it’s great that it’s all there in a nice little package that they can access. Yeah, I think that’s completely right. I think it’s actually, uh, but even like for someone who is pretty tech savvy, like getting all of this set up property needs a lot of work. Like you need get your head around its, and really gonna figure out how the tools work.

Jean-Michel: So if you’re not tech savvy, it’s harder. So I think I agree. You know, like having everything in one place. And, and also the way we’ve done it, we’ve packaged it very neatly. Everything’s an app. So you download an app and then you can update your website. You can take bookings, take payments, you know, see all the payments that have come in, who has paid you, who hasn’t paid you. Then you can download the list of all the appointments that you’ve had and you can send to accountant. So at the end of the year, the tax year is kinda done. Uh, your, your taxes are kinda done. So, yeah, so all of that, Is is a lot simpler now.

Dawn: That’s brilliant as well. You know, you spend all that time setting up and everything else when really you probably wanna get started making that money and start delivering treatments, so that’s brilliant.

So what do you reckon you would say is the main benefits of Storefront?

Jean-Michel: Obviously., the main benefit is having everything in one go. So I would say that that’s probably the main thing is that you only have one service provider, one contact point for all these kinds of technological needs that you might have. So I think that’s kind of really the main benefit. I would say that’s, um, the thing that really makes us stand apart from like other products is that the way we’ve kind of put together booking software and website, usually those. Do not sit together like you either have like a booking software or a website and then you can integrate your website with your booking software. But now we’ve kind of put everything into one.

Do you have a favourite feature of storefront?

Jean-Michel: Yeah, that’s, that’s really good. Like a little baby that you’re really proud of it in the middle school. There’s a lot of features that I’m really excited about. I think the one that’s, I personally like is the ability to actually control how you charge your clients. So I think the biggest challenge I’ve seen therapists have and,you know, they struggle with the most is last action no shows. And kind of that lost revenue that you get from that situation.

And I think that all comes back to like, was this kind of, I dunno if it’s lack of confidence, but just maybe like not being used to asking for payment. But when you think about it, the whole world works with payment upfront. Like you buy your tickets, you fly tickets before you fly. You pay for your groceries before they get delivered. You know, everything that you buy, you actually pay before you get the goods. And beauty is one of the only last services where, somehow, people still charging after the service. So I think the ability to actually charge up front and also tailor it to your customers to like, say, okay, you know what?

Jean-Michel: I’m gonna just charge you a deposit and it’s only gonna be 10 pounds, it’s gonna be 50% of the transaction. I think is the one I really like. It’s super easy to work around and really solves, I think, the biggest problem that I see. Then there is another one, which I find, so there’s another feature that I think is actually quite neat and is a bit like unique in the space because we come from a mobile beauty background, or software works for both if you are in a salon or mobile.

And that’s one of the only ones that you have on the market that will do that. And the reason why I say this is that what happens is that the system will be smart enough to know where you are and actually start calculating travel time from one place to another. So when you, as a customer, come on the website, when you see available times, there are real available times based on your schedule as a therapist and the time it takes for that therapist to come to you.

Dawn: Wow, okay. So that is quite cool that is so technically technologically maybe the most advanced. And you know, I think especially due to the pandemic and everything, I think everyone is very conscious about how much time they’re spending on certain things like travel and everything else.

Jean-Michel: So, you know, when you can combine the convenience and everything else. That sounds brilliant. I mean it appeals to me. I know that much. Yeah. We’re conscious about like, how long am I taking driving places? Cause you know, that time could be spent properly relaxing or doing other things or you know, even just checking my emails, that sort of thing. You can’t do that when you drive. Oh no, you can’t. I mean, you shouldn’t. No, definitely not. I think, yeah, I think, I think you’re right. I think, you know, having like at-home services is something that has kinda gained in popular. True Covid. But also I think that’s how therapists work. Like they will have maybe a home salon or they work, you know, have a beauty room where they will get some of their clients, but then some of the clients they will just go to, to theirs for convenience reason.

Dawn: But sometimes also like your clientele can’t move the maybe in bed and can get outta bed. Yeah. And I think that just is also the way the service industry is. Towards. It’s like everything comes, really. It’s brilliant as well. It’s also just brilliant in terms of accessibility, you know, uh, traditionally, especially before the pandemic, you wouldn’t be able to get much in home at all, you know, and obviously, if you couldn’t get somewhere, you just couldn’t get that haircut.

And you’ve got, you know, a lot of older people nowadays that need that, um, accessibility where someone’s nice kind you. They’re all right to be entering your home. They’re vetted and, you know, can come and give your hair without any issues and you don’t have to worry about trying to drive or take the bus, which could take out a lot of energy.

Jean-Michel: Exactly. Even for younger people with chronic illnesses, offering mobile treatments will probably be a huge game changer going forward. So it’s great that you’re right on top of it and following along with everybody and the change in the industry. Yeah, and think about it this way as well.

Like, you know, I’m a new dad and I think for parents it’s like a brilliant service. When Yeah, we have a kid like, am I gonna get like, you know, childcare just to just go to salon? Like, that sounds like a little bit, you know, like something like just having. You know, at least you can just kind of like, be like, okay, well if I’m in my home I can keep an eye on the child whilst you, you know, giving my pedicure, you know, haircuts anything. Oh, thing as well, worry about lugging stuff everywhere. So yeah, I definitely see the appeal.

Why should Beauticians sign up for this service?

Jean-Michel: So I think like, um, if, if you are interested in this website, uh, in this, in our product storefront, I think like the, the main benefit is really like you have everything one place.

So we allow you to set up a website so you have a presence you can use. Kind of a unique link that you put on your Insta account and your Insta Bio, um, so that your customers can actually start booking automatically on your service. On top of that, it will adapt to wherever you are. So if you have an at home set on, if you do mobile clients, if you do both well, the system will know and the system will start, uh, to optimize your time and travel time to make sure once you know, double book and to like get the shortest path to go from one place to another.

Um, and then. Finally, I think most pointly, the system does something brilliantly, which is taking payments, taking payments up front, taking payments afterwards, uh, making sure that you collect, you know, the funds from your, from your clients, um, which is something. Sometimes can be a little bit awkward, um, especially for new clients or new relationships.

Um, and that kind of takes it away completely from that relationship. Um, and also with those payments, there’s a track record of everything that you’ve done, which you can very easily, um, kind of, uh, send to your accountants, to your taxes at the end of the year. And also, you know, that, uh, there’s like making tax digital happening in, in a couple of years.

So, you know, that’s the best way to get ready. And obviously it just, A lot of paperwork . It’s really cheap; it’s like 15 pounds a month, so it’s not that expensive. It’s like close to Netflix. So if you have Netflix, you know, you could probably have, you know, something for your website.

Is there anything you’d like to talk about?

Jean-Michel: So we are a new partner for Insync. What we are working on is integrating the ability for therapists to buy insurance inside the app. So that’s another thing that you can have with your storefront, that is included inside the package will be the ability to just purchase your insurance and see when it expires and just renew your coverage. So I think that is quite innovative in terms of the way tech products work. And also what we’ve kind of agreed together is that therapists who are coming from Insync will also get a free month with storefront.

Dawn: That sounds amazing. So it’s kind of like a nice win-win on both sides.

Jean-Michel: Yes, exactly. Exactly right., so I think that may be the last thing to talk about on this because this is also why we are here, and it’s I think one of the things I think we pride on as a company is, being able to work with companies like yourself to go reach out, create the best products boss for, and also make sure that every, at the end of the day, everyone’s safe and happy in the industry as well.

Dawn: It’s absolutely amazing that we’re working with you. I remember, Leeanne telling me and it’s been lovely to see actually our partnerships grow. As we speak at the time of this recording, actually, we just released a podcast episode on partnerships and the fast track courses with Leeanne. So, definitely looking for more people to come on in. So, you know, it’s absolutely brilliant.

Jean-Michel: Yeah, and, and I think it’s really, you know, insurance is really important. I mean, I’ve seen it firsthand like lost on our site. And we noticed that you know, insurance is that thing, you know, like you, you don’t really wanna pay for it.

You’re like, oh, do I really need it? But then when something happens, you’re like, yeah, this is definitely what it’s, so, it feels always a bit expensive before something happens. When something happens. You’re like, that’s actually really cheap . So it is not to save money on. I feel insurance, especially when running a business and, you know, doing treatments that are on someone’s body and even intimate parts sometimes.

Dawn: It’s definitely key, and it’s also, you know, it’s so important and, but it’s also also very customizable from what I’ve spoken to with the team. You know, you can, you cover the treatments that you only do. It’s not like it’s just a random package that will just include a few things, you know, we will tailor it. Thank you so much for coming on today.

Jean-Michel: Yeah. Maybe one last thing to add, the way we work, so I think you. This partnership with Insync is a good, illustration of how we work at Storefront. So we are like a new product, so we always listen to our customers, talk to our customers quite a lot, and we really bring the feedback on board in terms of adding features. So I think that’s something that we’ve seen a lot of therapists ask is like, ‘Oh, Coverage. Where should I get insurance? What is the best insurance? Which one does cover me?’ So that’s why we’re doing this partnership. Like the feature about deposits that I’ve talked about, again, that came from customer interviews.

Because we’ve heard like a lot of therapists saying like, oh yeah, I had this client cancel on me. How do I do this? I had, you know, can I take a deposit because I wanna make sure that they show up. And then we start building it. So the other thing that I would wanna say and why, you know, kind of storefront is a cool product for new people to join, is we listen to you and we start building the things that you need for your business.

Because our objective or mission is to build the best. Booking tool is the best, all-in-one tool for freelance hair, beauty, and wellness therapists. And it’s always so key, and it’s also so lovely to hear that companies are always willing to hear the feedback to make the product better, to make your life better in the long run.

Dawn: You know, it’s really just refreshing. I think personally, you know, you see some of the big companies nowadays, and they’re like, you know, they just feel so big that they’re not listening to the small person that’s shouting about something. Mm-hmm. . Um, so. Definitely kudoes for that as well. Thank you very much.

Jean-Michel: No, we, we definitely do that. And I think this is, this is key for any business, right? If you, if you wanna create a product that people use and people love, uh, that your customers love you have to listen to them and make sure you understand, uh, what, what their problem is and how you can solve it.

Dawn: Well, thank you so much for coming on today. It’s been really great to pick your brains and learn more about las.

Jean-Michel: It’s my pleasure. Well, thank you so much for having me. One last thing to say is that if you sign up coming from Insync, just mention that you’ve heard about storefront on this podcast. So there’s something in the signup form which says like, where have you heard from us? And just write Insync podcast and you’ll get a free month.

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